“The flyover states, nothing exciting ever happens there. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to live down there.” This statement came from a fellow passenger as I was flying from California to Missouri a while back. I simply smiled and told the lady I would welcome her on our farm so she could see the wonderful things happening.
I shared with her how exciting it was to watch piglets being born on our farm. I told her about planting our seeds in the spring and waiting with great anticipation until we magically see our crops peek up from the dirt a few days later. In the fall, we race against mother nature to get our crops harvested while trying to tend to our cows that are calving. And for many farmers and ranchers, the excitement isn’t always joyous; sometimes the excitement comes in the form of an equipment breakdown, drought, flood, tornado or a wildfire.
Wildfires have been burning for a week or better in Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. There have also been tornadoes which have destroyed homes, schools and businesses in Missouri and other states. Just last week a tornado ripped through my little community.
Fences were destroyed on our farm and Kevin and I stayed up early into the morning hours repairing the fence and tending to our cattle. The following morning, farmers, community leaders and neighbors gathered around those who had damage to help pick up the pieces and start rebuilding. There were no phone calls made to ask for help, neighbors just showed up because that’s what happens in the flyover states. We help without being asked because we know our neighbors would do it for us in a heartbeat.
Agriculture is a big community, we are one family. State lines do not separate us when a fellow farmer or rancher is in need. When word hit Missouri about the wildfires in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas, farmers and ranchers started asking how they could help. Hay, fencing supplies, cattle feed, monetary donations and most importantly – prayers, were offered up in a matter of hours. Farmers and ranchers in Missouri, and many other states, organized hay convoys to aid our neighbors in devastated areas. It was overwhelming to see farmers and ranchers rally behind those in need. When I saw pictures of the destroyed pastures, homes, barns, fences and livestock, my heart broke. These families lost everything they had, some even gave their lives trying to save their cattle. The photos of semi trucks arriving with hay in the devastated areas stirred many emotions in my heart. I’m certain the ranchers must have felt a sense of relief and comfort knowing they were not alone in the battle they were fighting.
It was difficult for those of us unable to make the trip delivering supplies, we wanted to do more than just donate supplies or pray. Many farmers and ranchers wanted to make the trip personally but chores still have to get done at home. Several loads of hay and fencing supplies have left our little community and headed to Kansas and Oklahoma. This has happened all over the state of Missouri, farmers are paying it forward to help our neighbors in other states. It may not be enough but our hope is it will help you begin to rebuild. To our fellow farmers and ranchers dealing with the wildfires, please know you will be in our prayers in the days and months to come. Stay strong and find comfort in knowing you are not alone. We have your back!